“Project Athena”

I have strange and extravagant dreams.

I let myself imagine the kinds of things that other people feel.

I wrap myself in the somewhat-safety of being someone else. It’s an old game I used to play.

I can see them looking at me, wondering. “Is Project Athena going off the rails like the McKabes and the Quin-Jongs?”

It almost hurts, to think that they doubt me so. I have been nothing but loyal.

I am loyal.

I was made in the Labs of Olympus, spliced from the Zeus gene-mod. I was the pride and joy, one of the Original Twelve phenotypes.

From our DNA is the rest of the Olympus Catalogue made. They might use my eyes and put them on a different face. Everything is mixed and matched and guaranteed to be a viable offspring, even when paired with lower quality DNA.

One Athena in every generation is Chosen, just as there is one Ares, one Hera, one Apollo, etc, etc. We live in the Lab so our gene-children can live free with their parents.

We have perfect genes, expressing all required characteristics of our class.

I remember when I was separated from the rest of my age group. I cried.

That was the first time I realized I was different. In front of an assembly full of people.

I remember that I was put in a group with other Athena-candidates. We wore tunic dresses and had classes together.

One by one, our class was whittled down to me and another girl. I remember that she had my face. My voice. It was like fighting myself.

And then there was just me. And I was standing in front of the Dagger Throne. And there were cameras everywhere and the whole world was watching my Ascension.

I never imagined what it would be like to win the Goddess Trials.

It wasn’t like I’d put my name in the running.

I’d been Chosen as a kid. From that point my life was no longer my own.

Yet here I am.

This is my life. One where there is very little privacy and no real freedom.

I am dressed and paraded around in front of the masses. I am the face of the brand.

I am kept in optimum health and there are constantly body servants fluttering around. There’s someone there even when I’m “alone”.

It’s strange to be lonely when you’re never allowed to be alone.

The cold is a hungry beast. [NSFW]

This house is fucking freezing.

I have this small heater that’s supposed to make things livable and it does a half-assed job. It’s very disappointing.

I spend most of my time wearing thermal underwear and sweatsuits. I sleep under a layer of blankets.

It’s because the cold is a hungry beast. It tries to climb into a person’s veins.

I sometimes feel as though Eternal Winter has cast a spell on me.

In the same way that the Winter Queen cursed our country, I have to wonder if I’ve been more personally cursed. To always have cold hands and a standoffish personality. To be so entirely outside of every group I stand in.

And my curse began in this house. Where I spent my childhood and most of my adolescence. That I have returned to as an adult. Mostly because I have nowhere else to go.

That’s the sad thing about burned bridges. They tended to add up.

Now here I am. Home again, home again.

Making the best of a bad situation feels like the best thing I could do. So I’ll hold myself together until this is all over.

I huddle around the propane heater in the main living room and listen to the conversation swirl around me. Five people in one space could make a fair bit of noise. I made myself one of them and lived amongst them, waiting for word to come.

It’s almost a surprise when the blue stamped letter comes. I had nearly given into despair. (What if they’ve forgotten me? What if this life becomes my real life for the next ten years?)

The enthusiasm at receiving orders — it made me ashamed of myself. Just for a little bit. But mostly I felt as if I’d found something I’d spent years looking for.

Fill? 01 – on a gun

There’s a strange moment of disconnect between one thought and the next. It left him stumbling on numb legs.

He turned his body around and stood there, statuelike.

The world was made of fire.

It raged across the sky in blazing scarlet and gold. Giant wings reaching out to cover everything.

He tipped his head back and stared up at the parachute of light arching above him.

I’m going to die. The thought was spoken in a calm voice that rang through his ears as clearly as if they’d been outside of his own head.

It followed him as he ducked and ran and fought his way out of a city fallen to madness.

He came out of his fire with a starburst scar across the apple of his right cheek and an ankle that liked to pop when he walked. But he was alive and he could move to a suburban area and start a new life as a stay-at-home dad.

The woman he married was a dedicated career woman that had lokked startled by his offered Contract before agreeing.

The relationship wasn’t real, but he knew that he was a catch just on his looks alone.

It was kind of why he dressed as a farmer hipster when he wasn’t working. It was all plaid shirts, unshaven cheeks, and wildly tawsled hair.

He knew he was a hot mess. He could see the eyes that followed him around. It was why he’d switched to wearing glasses.

Add in Chucky, and suddenly he was the single dad that all kinds of women wanted to fix up.

Sometimes it made him laugh, when he was home alone with the sleeping baby. He would be watching TV in the living room, maybe smoking a little Calm and Cool, and he’d have a thought and find himself laughing like a loon.

Once upon a time he’d been a serious bad ass. He’d been a hero from the wars.

Then he was a rich woman’s darling husband and Contracted Trophy Spouse. They’d agreed to have a child that he would raise.

Then he was a widow receiving Survivor’s Benefits from her Memorial Trust. She’d arranged things so that both he and Chucky were taken care of. There was enough money that he didn’t have to work out of the home.

He was grateful to her. She’d been a generous wife when they were married, and she’d been generous in her death.

He made sure that her family saw plenty of Chucky. As much as he could manage anyway, as her family was well-traveled and it took a Google Calendar to follow them and schedule an appointment.

He’d added thousands of miles to his car keeping in contact with her family. It was something that she would have wanted.

Chucky became one of the Patriarch’s favorite grandchildren along with Frankie and the twins. By the time the first granddaughter was born–the apple of everyone’s eye–the gang of children running around was a hoard of well-loved family kids and their friends.

It made him proud to see his child growing up so well.

He could remember the horribleness of his own childhood.

This is why I survived, he thought. This is why that voice spoke to me.

Because if he hadn’t heard that voice ringing through his head, he wouldn’t have run. He would have hesitated. And he would have died with everyone else.

He stared around at the orderliness of his room and pushed away the memories of Before.

He was no kind of hero. He was just a man.

That was the promise he’d made himself and Chucky.

* * *

Charles glared at Nigel. How dare that old coot tell him what to do! But he knew there was no choice but to do as he was told. His parents had told him what to expect.

This was the man that had raised him until he was eight, then given him away. He didn’t see Nigel for fifteen years, then when they met again Nigel was nothing that he remembered.

The anal-retentive asshole took OCD to a whole other level of neurosis, but refused to take medication. He’d made friends with some hippies and followed an organic produce kick that involved aquaponics and hundreds of pounds worth of vegetables.

Yet he was still the man controlling Charles’ life until his twenty-fifth birthday. Which meant the marriage contract was valid and he’d just have to make the best of things, as he usually did.

Charliemehardy was the name he used online. Because he had big plans for what his life was going to be when he reached his Majority.

He’d continue to support Nigel, but he’d get his own place and his own life.

“Who am I marrying?” he asked.

Nigel shrugged elegantly. “That’s going to be up to you. I’ll have some profiles put together and arrange some invitations, but you choose who you like.”

Charles sighed in relief. At least he was going to be allowed a bit of freedom.

He glanced at his watch. “Oop, looks like I’ve gotta run, Daddy. I’ll see you later!”

Nigel tapped his cheek meaningfully. “Kiss.”

It was maybe a bit embarrassing at times, but Charles never refused the request. He pressed a brief kiss against the scar on Nigel’s cheek. “Later, Daddy.”

He hurried out of the study and down the back hall stairs. It took him until he reached the car to put his public mask back in place.

That was the thing about family. They could strip him bare in ways his friends had never managed.

"A Tested Love" by Kayla Jameth

NEW RELEASE: “A Tested Love” by Kayla Jameth [mm, historical, excerpt] – @KaylaJameth

Title: A Tested Love
Series: Spartan Love (Book Two)
Author: Kayla Jameth
Genre: historical, mm, romance, Spartan
Page count: 350 pages

Sequel to “A Spartan Love”
The Epics of Apollo’s Men

Pick up a copy from Amazon or Dreamspinner Press. Available as paperback and ebook.

"A Tested Love" by Kayla Jameth

“A Tested Love” by Kayla Jameth

Blurb: Lured by seductive promises, Andreas risked his life to be with Theron, only to find himself betrayed. Abandoned and alone, Andreas resigns all hope of seeing his fierce warrior again and resumes his life as a helot.

All too aware of the harsh punishment Sparta demands of men who love other men, Theron reluctantly surrenders Andreas in hopes of keeping him safe. The warrior returns to Sparta to embrace his destiny in place of the helot he has grown to see as a man, not just a slave. Cold but honorable duty will be his new lover.

Duty proves to be a jealous lover when Sparta demands the final test of Theron’s loyalty. Sent to kill Andreas, Theron must find a way to come to terms with his burning desire for his handsome helot before their forbidden love destroys them both.

Buy links: Amazon || Dreamspinner Press.

Find Kayla Jameth on Facebook, Twitter, and on her blog.
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